Makepekepe begin title defence

Langton Nyakwenda —
CAPS UNITED midfielder Abbas Amidu was involved in an accident last Tuesday but the forward reported for training the next day, something coach Lloyd Chitembwe says epitomises the fighting spirit at the league champions.

Amidu was travelling from Zvishavane, where his soccer playing brother Brett is now based, when the bus he was on veered off the road and overturned near Norton.

Despite that harrowing experience, Amidu wants to be part of the club’s league opener against Shabanie Mine at Maglas.

Chitembwe says the player’s attitude is something his charges have developed since knocking out TP Mazembe from the Caf Champions League.

Amidu – who had a short stint at Kaizer Chiefs in South Africa – scored the away goal in Lubumbashi which saw the Green Machine hold TP Mazembe 1-1 in a first round first leg encounter.

Makepekepe restricted Mazembe to a goalless draw in the reverse fixture in Harare to book a maiden berth in the money-spinning group phase.

The champions begin the defence of their Premiership crown having addressed an industrial action that disrupted midweek training.

And they will need to be at their best when they face a Shabanie Mine they have not beaten at Maglas on their last six visits.

The last time Caps United beat Shabanie Mine in a league match was on April 24, 2005 when Leonard Tsipa scored the solitary goal.

However, Chitembwe believes his boys are up for the task

“I wouldn’t want to talk about the past, neither am I at liberty to comment about (Shabanie Mine) but what I can only talk of is my boys’ capabilities. My boys now have the kind of attitude that I want. You look at Abbas (Amidu) he was in pain but he still reported for training. This is what I expect from fighters, I liked the boy’s attitude he is quite an exceptional player,” said Chitembwe.

“Belief, yes belief is what that game brought into my camp. The Mazembe game has changed the way they (players) see things. I think now they are believers of their own capabilities which is good for their confidence.”

Chitembwe has an array of stars to choose from and once again he will have to decide on whom to start at left-back between Ronald Pfumbidzai and the fast-rising Valentine Musarurwa.

Musarurwa started both legs against Mazembe in the absence of an injured Pfumbidzai but the latter has now fully recovered.

“Vale is a brilliant player and he has brought the kind of competition we want in the team. In fact, all our wing backs have given us what we expect of them. We are where we are because of their contribution,” Chitembwe said.

Reigning Soccer Star of the Year Hardlife Zvirekwi has also been kept on his toes by Mufakose-bred right-back Zvikomborero Bizeki.

Caps United’s continental success doesn’t worry Shabanie Mine’s coach Taku Shariwa who has declared that Makepekepe will get a rude awakening at Maglas.

“People are not giving us a chance and I will put it on record that we are fighting relegation. But the truth is we are going to upset some big boys because we want to bring back the good old days at Shabanie Mine,” he said.

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